Eric Berry

Eric Berry’s Agent Confident Berry Will Be Back

Former Chiefs star Eric Berry sat out the entire 2019 campaign and hasn’t played more than two games in a season since 2016, but his agent, Chad Speck, is confident the three-time First Team All-Pro safety will return to the field. “The best is yet to come,” Speck wrote in a retweet of Berry’s collegiate highlight reel from SEConCBS.

We heard in January that Berry intends to play in 2020, and just last month we learned that multiple teams, including the Colts, will compete for his services. Though no concrete reports of negotiations between Berry’s camp and NFL teams have surfaced, perhaps there will be more movement on that front after this week’s draft.

The No. 5 overall pick of the 2010 draft, Berry quickly established himself as one of the best safeties in the league, despite an ACL tear that limited him to one game in 2011. He was a dominant back end defender in the 2012-13 seasons, and though he was diagnosed with cancer towards the end of the 2014 season, he suited up for all 16 of the Chiefs’ games in 2015 en route to his second First Team All-Pro selection. He followed that up with a similarly terrific 2016, but he tore his Achilles in the first game of the 2017 season and wasn’t able to return until the tail end of the 2018 campaign due to complications from that injury.

He did garner interest in advance of the 2019 season, but he chose to sit it out in order to make sure he is 100% healthy. Still only 31, the Tennessee product may yet have another good year or two left in him. He will almost certainly sign with a contender, and in addition to Indianapolis, the Eagles and Buccaneers look like potential landing spots.

Colts Interested In Eric Berry, Other Teams In The Mix

Eric Berry sat out the 2019 season, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll have too much difficulty getting back into the NFL. We heard back in January that Berry was looking to get back on the field in 2020, and the three-time first-team All-Pro is already starting to garner interest.

The Colts are interested in adding Berry to their roster, according to Stephen Holder of The Athletic. They aren’t the only ones who will pursue the veteran safety, as sources told Holder that Indy will have competition and that they’ll have to beat out other suitors. Berry was drafted fifth overall by the Chiefs back in 2010 and became an instant star, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Unfortunately, he’s had to deal with a lot of adversity in his career.

Berry was diagnosed with cancer toward the end of the 2014 season and incredibly battled his way back onto the field to play in 2015, winning the league’s Comeback Player of the Year Award and earning his second All-Pro selection. He was once again an All-Pro in 2016, but a brutal injury derailed his career soon after.

Berry tore his Achilles in the first game of the 2017 season, and due to complications from that injury including a Haglund’s deformity, he wasn’t able to return until Week 15 of 2018. He appeared in the Chiefs’ playoff game that year but was released the following offseason and spent all of last year out of football.

One thing working in Indianapolis’ favor, as Holder notes, is that Berry is “very close friends” with current Colts defensive end and former Chiefs teammate Justin Houston. Colts GM Chris Ballard was also an executive in Kansas City from 2013-16. A few teams were apparently interested in the Tennessee product last year, but Berry intentionally took the season off to make sure he was fully healthy. Hopefully we get to see him make an impact in 2020, with the Colts or any team.

Eric Berry Plans To Return Next Season

On every Chiefs 2010s roster except for the edition that has voyaged to the Super Bowl, Eric Berry does not plan to retire. The former All-Pro safety opted to sit out in 2019 but did not lack for interest, according to’s Mike Garafolo (video link).

Berry was on a few teams’ radars last summer but wanted to make sure he was sufficiently recovered from the injuries that led to his Chiefs release. Following what Garafolo categorizes as an “intentional sabbatical,” the former top-five draftee plans to play in 2020.

After the Chiefs released Berry in March, he visited the Cowboys and popped up on the Browns’ radar. We heard nothing from the potential All-Decade teamer during the season, however. Berry’s six-year, $78MM Chiefs extension — then a safety-record contract — in 2017 preceded a torn Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of the ’17 season and a nagging heel injury that cost him most of the ’18 campaign.

The Chiefs ate $14.95MM in dead money because of Berry’s release — $8MM of which will be attached to their 2020 payroll — but saw their safety corps improve after adding Tyrann Mathieu.

Berry, however, is only 31 and is seeking a 10th season. He has overcome plenty in his career. In addition to beating cancer, the University of Tennessee product battled back from a 2011 ACL tear and did return to action late last season despite the painful heel ailment.

The 2010 No. 5 overall pick is a three-time first-team All-Pro. His most recent such honor, in 2016, came after two return touchdowns and the NFL’s first “pick-two.” However, Berry has not displayed full health since September 2017, so getting back into a starting lineup is not a certainty.

Eric Berry Remains On Cowboys’ Radar

Throughout the 2018 offseason, the Cowboys were connected to Earl Thomas. They eventually offered a second-round pick for him. But Dallas used Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods as its starting safeties last season. Although the Cowboys signed George Iloka and drafted Donovan Wilson in the sixth round, the Heath-Woods duo remains atop the depth chart.

The team, however, continues to examine other options. Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay said during an appearance on 1310 The Ticket (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jon Machota) the Cowboys continue to monitor the status of Eric Berry but reiterated the team believes in its starters and the depth it has assembled.

Berry visited the Cowboys and received some interest from the Browns. Other than that, it has been a quiet offseason for the three-time first-team All-Pro. (Berry and Thomas are the only active safeties to appear on the top All-Pro team three times.) Two years after signing Berry to the then-richest safety contract, the Chiefs cut their longest-tenured defender amid a defensive overhaul. The 30-year-old defender has played in just two of the past 31 regular-season games, having seen Achilles and heel problems sidetrack his career.

Woods and Heath were first-stringers throughout last season, with only two Woods injury absences breaking up the tandem. Pro Football Focus graded Woods as a middle-of-the-pack safety while slotting Heath toward the bottom of that list. The Cowboys rated as Football Outsiders’ No. 16 pass defense DVOA outfit.

Eric Berry, Tre Boston On Browns’ Radar

The Browns made a rather notable trade earlier this month, and it left them without one of their starting safeties. While there is another former safety starter on Cleveland’s roster, Derrick Kindred, John Dorsey appears interested in upgrading the position.

Dorsey has spoken with the agents of Eric Berry and Tre Boston, the second-year GM said Monday (via the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter).

Both players have long-term connections with key Browns personnel. Berry played for Dorsey in Kansas City for four seasons and negotiated his then-safety-record contract with the then-Chiefs GM in 2017. New Cleveland DC Steve Wilks coached Boston in Arizona last season and for three seasons in Carolina.

Having made the decision to continue his career, despite having missed 29 regular-season games over the past two seasons, Berry visited the Cowboys last week. A few teams reached out to Boston earlier in free agency, but the five-year veteran did not expect to sign soon.

Boston yet again has seen his free agency start slowly. He was a key member of the higher-end safety group that oddly lingered unattached for months before accepting basement-level deals. Boston played for a $1MM base salary last season in Arizona. The Chiefs released the injury-prone Berry, 30, earlier this month. Prior to running into significant injury trouble, Berry landed on three All-Pro first teams. Boston, 26, became a full-time Cardinals starter despite a late-offseason arrival. He has eight interceptions over the past two seasons.

Cleveland has made big moves and figures to enter this season with the most hype a Browns 2.0 team has, given the team’s additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson and last season’s seven-win showing. And Dorsey appears interested in exploring another high-profile move.

Peppers started for two seasons, joining Damarious Randall last year. Randall remains under contract. So does Kindred, a 2017 starter. But with some high-profile talent connected to the current staff still available, this figures to be a situation to monitor.

Eric Berry To Visit Cowboys

Former Chiefs safety Eric Berry is visiting the Cowboys tomorrow, per Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). After a long-rumored reunion of sorts with Earl Thomas never came to fruition, Dallas is still in the market for safety help, and the club is looking at another former First Team All-Pro.

Berry, 30, was cut by Kansas City after the Chiefs inked fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu to a lucrative free agent contract. Berry has always been a terrific player, but he has had difficulty staying on the field throughout his career.

In five of his nine pro seasons, Berry has failed to play more than five games. He’s been available for only three total regular season contests over the past two years after rupturing his Achilles in September 2017, but in spite of that, Berry doesn’t plan to undergo offseason surgery to correct his nagging heel concerns.

That is enough to give any team pause, but the Cowboys need a safety and may see Berry as a worthwhile gamble. The club met with Clayton Geathers earlier today, and while there is probably room in the defensive backfield to add both talented but injury-plagued talents, that is not an especially likely scenario.

This marks Berry’s first scheduled visit since he was cut.

DB Notes: Berry, Dennard, Poole, Jets

Let’s take a look at the latest on the free agent defensive back market:

  • After being released by the Chiefs, safety Eric Berry has no plans to retire, tweets Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports. Although he’s just 30 years old, Berry has only appeared in three games over the past two seasons while dealing with an Achilles injury, so it’s fair to wonder about his future. In five of his nine pro campaigns, Berry has failed to play in more than five games. Still, he’s been a highly effective player when on the field, so he should find a market, even if it means accepting a one-year deal.
  • The Bengals are willing to retain slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard, but it must be at their teams, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Cincinnati is comfortable offering Dennard a multi-year deal at around $8.5MM, the same rate at which he was paid in 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option. That’s largely in line with the going rate for slot corners this offseason. Justin Coleman received $9MM annually from the Lions, while the top slot CB — former Bear Bryce Callahan — has yet to sign.
  • Free agent cornerback Brian Poole has a meeting lined up with the Jets, reports Josina Anderson of (Twitter link). Poole has plenty of experience, as he played on at least 60% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in each of the past three season. Despite that, Atlanta chose not to tender him as a restricted free agent, largely because he ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every advanced corner metric. New York is searching for a slot replacement after Buster Skrine signed with the Bears.

Chiefs Release Eric Berry

The Chiefs have released Eric Berry, the club announced today.

“I’d like to thank Eric for his contributions to our team and the Kansas City community over the last nine years,” head coach Andy Reid said. “Seeing his passion and watching his love for the game has been truly remarkable. He’s a special person, and we wish him the best as his career moves forward.”

Berry, 30, was widely expected to be cut after Kansas City inked fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu to a three-year, $42MM. The two defensive backs could have complemented each other in the Chiefs’ secondary, but most teams are simply reluctant to spent an exorbitant amount of cap and cash on a single positional group.

Berry signed a six-year, $78MM extension with the Chiefs in 2017, and that deal had kept him as the NFL’s highest-paid safety until Landon Collins topped him earlier this week. Kansas City will designate Berry as a post-June 1 release (Twitter link via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk), meaning it will take on $6.95MM in dead money this year and $8MM in 2020. The Chiefs will see $9.55MM in cap relief, but they won’t receive that until this summer.

A terrific safety when on the field, Berry has been limited by health issues throughout his career. In five of his nine pro seasons, Berry has failed to play more than five games. He’s been available for only three total regular season contests over the past two years after rupturing his Achilles in September 2017. In spite of that, Berry doesn’t plan to undergo offseason surgery to correct his nagging heel concerns.

Berry’s market will be one to watch in the coming weeks, as the safety position has mostly been picked over in free agency. That should leave Berry as one of the more attractive options still available, but it also means many clubs have already filled their safety void. Given his injury history, it won’t be a surprise if the three-time All-Pro is forced to settle for a one-year deal.

DB Notes: Roby, Boston, Berry

Earlier today, the Texans agreed to sign former Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby to a one-year, $10MM deal. It sounds like the 27-year-old may have left some longer deals on the table, as the defensive back told Mike Klis of 9News in Denver that he turned down a three-year offer from the Steelers and a one-year offer from the 49ers. Roby said that the Browns were also in the mix (Twitter link).

“It’s a prove it deal,” Roby explained. “I feel like I should go back in (the market) while I’m still young.”

Roby left Denver after spending five years with the organization, and it sounds like the veteran holds a bit of a grudge against his former team.

“It’s a business. Denver didn’t want me, they wanted someone else,” Roby said, with the cornerback referring to the team’s acquisition of Kareem Jackson (Twitter link). “No, they tried to word it nice – they were talking about it but they didn’t offer. They got the guy they wanted.”

Let’s check out some more notes revolving around the league’s defensive backs…

  • Free agent safety Tre Boston doesn’t expect to sign a deal right away, with the 26-year-old telling ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he expects to be in the “second wave” of safety signings (Twitter link). Boston said that three teams have already reached out to express preliminary interest, including the Raiders. However, following the team’s agreement with Lamarcus Joyner, it’s uncertain if they’ll still have interest. Boston spent the 2018 campaign with the Cardinals, compiling 79 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions.
  • Could the Chiefs signing of Tyrann Mathieu spell the end of Eric Berry‘s tenure with the organization? Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thinks so, as the writer can’t envision the organization paying a combined $27MM for the two players. Considering Berry’s recent injury issues, this isn’t a particularly hot take, but it’s worth noting that the Chiefs will have to make a decision relatively soon. As Florio tweets, another $7.25 million of Berry’s contract will become guaranteed on March 15th.
  • A number of safeties earned large paydays yesterday, which was a significant difference from last offseason. CBS Sports’ Brady Quinn explained why safeties were the bigger winner during the NFL’s first day of the legal tampering period.

Eric Berry Won’t Undergo Offseason Surgery

Eric Berry missed most of the past two seasons, being sidelined for much of 2018 because of a painful heel issue. But the Chiefs’ plan for their All-Pro safety evidently does not include surgery.

The 30-year-old defender is not slated to undergo an offseason procedure to address his nagging heel concern, Andy Reid said (via Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star, on Twitter).

Surgery is sometimes recommended for people dealing with Haglund’s deformity, but for the time being, it looks like Berry will attempt to shake this persistent problem with rest and rehab. He returned for the Chiefs late in the season and was on the field for pivotal snaps against the Patriots in the AFC championship game. But Berry has not been himself since Week 1 of the 2017 season, when a season-ending Achilles injury sidetracked his career.

Thanks to signing the former top-five pick to a safety-record contract back in 2017, the Chiefs have Berry under contract through 2022. Kansas City had issues in its secondary throughout last season, Berry’s injury chief among them.

The Chiefs, who were interested in Earl Thomas before he was lost for the season, likely will attempt to upgrade at this position this offseason. Berry has dealt with this heel condition for nearly two years, though his Achilles injury damaged his other foot. He is set to take up $16MM of Kansas City’s 2019 cap.